Saturday, September 25, 2010

Three Chile Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers are a staple in our house for their ease and health-value. Unfortunately, they can be a little bland. I usually add a little spice to the turkey burger patties I buy (yes, I buy them preformed because they are just so easy that way!). I got a little inspiration when we tried these taco burgers and thought that the idea would translate well to turkey burgers as well. But I'm not a huge fan of taco seasoning packets, so I decided to use the basic flavor ingredients from taco seasoning and just apply directly to the burgers. Since I like the way different chile flavors play off each other, I decided to add a very lightly grilled (canned) anaheim chile to each burger before topping with pepperjack cheese and guacamole. Oh my, these burgers were so good. I don't think my husband could believe he was eating such a good burger at home. We've had them twice and both times he was speechless. I swear the turkey burgers taste meatier with all those other flavors going on. These are spicy, but I find them to be a complex spicy, not a hot spicy. The anaheim chiles are quite mild, and you can control the heat of the burger by adding more or less chili powder, or by varying what kind of chili powder you use. Remember to toast the burger buns a little extra so that they hold up to this burger. With the guac and the pepper, this one can get a little sloppy.

Triple Chile Turkey Burgers
2 preformed turkey burgers (or 1/2 lb of ground turkey, shaped into patties)
1/2-1 tsp onion powder
1/2-1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Chili powder (I used regular, but will try ancho and chipotle soon!)
1 small (4 oz) can whole mild chiles (anaheims)
1 small batch (1 avocado worth) guacamole (homemade is best, even if you are just mixing a little salsa into a chopped avocado!)
2 slices pepperjack cheese
2 toasted hamburger buns
Prepare and heat grill pan. Season turkey burgers with onion, garlic & chili powder. Set aside. Drain can of chiles. Remove two (save remaining for another use or discard). Carefully slice open one side to create one large single layer pepper out of each whole pepper. Using your knife, scrape out as many seeds as possible. Lightly grill peppers until they start to appear dry and just start to show char marks. Remove and set aside. Grill burgers, turning, until no longer pink inside. Top each burger with one grilled chile, then one slice of pepperjack cheese. Slide each burger onto a bun and top with guacamole before adding bun top.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lemon Thyme Chicken

One of the only problems I have been having with my Plow to Porch CSA Delivery is that they almost always include a large bunch of fresh herbs that I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to use up! Basil is easy for me, as is cilantro (which I just give away to my co-workers, hee, hee!), but when I got a huge bunch of thyme, I was pretty stumped. I knew that lemon goes well with thyme and searched my usual recipe sites first: allrecipes and epicurious didn't have anything that appealed to me. I finally just did a Yahoo search, and low and behold, one of my favorite blogs was one of the first to pull up! I should have just searched my Google Reader to begin with! So this great recipe comes from Annie's Eats. I followed it pretty close to the letter and it came out great! I'm looking forward to making this again, perhaps with some different herb combinations (I've currently got parsley & chives waiting to be used up). The recipe had the perfect lemon to wine ratio and although I did cut back a little on the butter, I'm sure it would be even better with all the butter added in for richness. I'm not going to list out the ingredients for this, since I did follow Annie's instructions pretty closely, and honestly, I think anyone reading this should go look at her blog anyway. She is pretty amazing and her blog is awesome! By the way, I still had a ton of thyme leftover after making this! How am I supposed to use it all?!!

Southwestern Quinoa

I definitely grew up in a household where dinner consisted of protein, starch & veggie most nights. As I'm doing my meal planning, my mind often goes back to this concept even when I'm trying to use up all our veggies from Plow to Porch. A big problem with this style of meal planning is that I have a tendency to inhale the starch part, whether it be a pasta, rice, potato or couscous side dish. To combat this problem, I have started experimenting a little bit with quinoa, which is similar in texture to couscous, but much more filling, has more protein and fiber, and is slightly less inhalable while still being quite tasty. I got much inspiration for this recipe from Mary Ellen's Chili Cumin Seasoned Quinoa with Jalapenos, Corn & Red Pepper. Mary Ellen recently had one of her other quinoa recipes featured in Cooking Light Magazine, so I knew she knows her way around a quinoa recipe! This was so fantastic and the fish I served with it worked with the quinoa very nicely (I had picked up a tilapia in lemon sauce at Whole Foods). I ended up making the same dish about a week later since my husband wasn't here to enjoy it the first time around and I of course ate all the leftovers! This recipe also has the honors of being the first time I cooked with a self grown jalapeno. That sucker was extra hot, of course, so this dish was particularly spicy, but I didn't mind! For you cilantro lovers, this recipe begs for some chopped cilantro to be added just after plating. Even this non-cilantro girl almost wouldn't have minded some, it would just have gone really well with these flavors!

Southwestern Quinoa (adapted from Mary Ellen)
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 of a small onion, finely chopped
1/2 can of black beans, rinsed & drained
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed (I just rinse in cool water for a few minutes)
Optional: 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro (I didn't use the lime because the fish was seasoned with citrus, but highly recommend some sort of citrus juice flavor with this dish)
Heat about half the oil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa and toast for about 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, chili powder, cumin and cayenne, mix well to combine; allow to come to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and cook until liquid is mostly gone, about 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a medium saute pan. Add onion & peppers. Saute until just starting to carmelize. Add corn and cook until heated through. Add beans, stirring gently until heated through. When quinoa is done, pour on top of the mixture in the saute pan and gently fold vegetables into the quinoa until universally combined. Serve warm and top with lime juice and chopped cilantro, if desired.